Technology is a key part of any business—and this dependence on technology is expected to be a key economic driver across all industries in the U.S. The jobs of tomorrow have yet to be conceived, though the skillset required to flourish in this unknown environment exists today.
Grand Canyon University has responded to the demand for these specialized skills with degree programs that prepare people to work and advance in the technology field. Our goal is to create programs that are not focused on the way things have been done in the past. We instead formed our programs by incorporating the perspectives of key industry leaders.
Here’s what industry leaders in technology told us:
- Focusing on the latest programming language is shortsighted. As with learning any language, you need to understand the evolution of programming languages in order to build on that foundation with other more complex versions
- There is too much division between computer science and information technology professionals. These two areas need to be familiar with the needs and outcomes of both areas in order to form cross-functional departments that can meet the needs of the workplace
- Too many schools focus on the hardware and not nearly enough on software
- Communication between humans and computer-to-user communication are critical for ongoing development and the successful launch of any computer-based program
- Graduates do not have enough experience
- Too many programs are exclusive and cannot keep up with the demand for new curriculum
Here’s how GCU responded to the industry:
Building Basics. Instead of simply teaching students to master the most current programming language, our students first learn to code in Python. Then, depending on their area of emphasis, they move on to coding with C++, PERL and Java and then more on to more specialized app languages like C#. By learning these languages in succession, students gain a solid foundation in the theory and application of programing languages. These fundamentals make our graduates more adaptable to new technologies, allowing them to learn additional programing languages more easily and making them more marketable to a variety of different employers.
CS and IT Together. GCU takes a systems approach with technology, which means our students are fully versed in both disciplines. Majors in the computer science, information technology and engineering programs take the same foundational courses during their first semesters at GCU.
Virtual Environment. Our students aren’t here to build or take apart computers, which would prepare them for a job as an entry-level technician. Instead, our students study in a virtual learning environment that allows them to build and create using software.
Work Experience. Our goal is for students to find a career when they leave GCU—not just a job. Businesses want students who are ready to “plug and play.” Our senior capstone includes a project from a real-world client. Students will work to solve their client’s technology problem throughout the semester. Instead of an internship-heavy program, this ensures that all students get the opportunity for real-life work experience.
One Application. We are passionate about helping to meet the growing industry’s demand for high-quality graduates. As such, we do not require a second application or limit the number of academically prepared students accepted into the programs in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.
Adaptable Curriculum. Technologies are updated almost daily. Thanks to our investor-supported business model, we have the unique opportunity to adapt more quickly to changing technologies than traditional universities. We have an advisory board of industry experts who continue to provide guidance on what businesses want to see from graduates, and we have built and will continue to grow our curriculum to ensure our students are prepared for the workforce of tomorrow.
Want to learn more? Visit gcu.edu/CSET.